Sight Words to Learn

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Sight words.

What are they, and what are the importance of them?

Sight words are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode. 

The level before reading, that’s where sight words come in handy.

Many kids learn sight words best through memorization rather than phonics. I plan to play it by ear and see how Parker takes on this challenge. If he shows me he should advance a little, we will add more phonics into our daily sight word lessons. Either way, I believe that for early readers, memorizing sight words is invaluable for literacy.

There are many words our son already knows, can recognize, spell, and write himself. However, in order to help encourage growth we are beginning a list of sight words once we start home-schooling in a few weeks. The list of words I have put together are ones that are small enough so that they are not overwhelming, but common enough to be used frequently in stories, and workbooks he may use and come across. I also added words that tie easily into biblical teachings, because for our family, that is important as well.

This is a rough list of the words I put together this morning. I say “rough” because I am sure I will adjust, and add at some point in our lessons. I am sure I have forgotten or not thought of a few important words, so those will be added in as necessary. My plan for the words is to split them up evenly through out the school year, a new letter every week. Because the school year is 43 weeks long, and there are only 26 letters, we will repeat them for review.

Parker wont be four until February, so again, the fact that I get to do these lessons with him already just blows my mind. The kid has a brain for learning. 

 

sight words

*Note that there are not many “x” words, so I added a couple that still use the letter, just not at the beginning. *

I am uncertain as to how I will utilize all the words. I have a few ideas. Either I will make flash cards, use dry erase boards, use magnet letters, or one of the many other creative ideas I will pull out of my hat! To be honest, I am sure each week will be a different strategy, to keep interest.

 

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Preschool Home-school Themes

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Being mama full time definitely is a lot of work. Emotionally, as well as physically, it’s very demanding of me. But, I wouldn’t want my “job” to be anything other than this. This is the most important job I could ever have. And since our oldest, Parker, is somehow almost at school age, I begin a new adventure!

Parker will be four years old in February, so this September, when school season begins, we will start a preschool routine. I think I might be more excited about this than anyone else, mostly because I know I now have more excuses to get creative and be a kid and learn myself.

Preschool…usually fun stuff. 

However, still very educational.

Our boy is ahead of the game in a sense that he has been learning for the past two years, and to him, “school work” has always been fun.

A few days ago, while my husband was home, I had a chance to actually put together a full school year of weekly preschool themes in which I plan to schedule my weekly and daily work around. I figured for the youngsters, themes are something to look forward to every Monday morning. (Heck, even us adults like themes, am I right?!)

I figured I would share our list of weekly themes, in case there are any other mamas out there who are stumped at where to begin with homeschooling a preschooler, or even a kiddo at an older age.

Preschool Homeschooling Themes rainbow

We are teaching based on our core values, Biblical references, and Oregon guidelines for early learning and kindergarten through the Department of Education.

Each day of the week will be broken up into individual lessons based around the overall theme. In addition to the weekly themes, I will be creating a list of sight words that will be learned alphabetically as the year progresses. 

As for Avaley, she will be two at the end of December, so we will come up with a “younger” version of many of the same activities Parker will be doing. She is still learning shapes, colors, animals, and things like that.

I now have a month to finish getting everything in order, and I know August is going to fly by! This is a new thing to me, homeschooling. So if there are any other moms with any pointers and/or advice, it would be very much appreciated! 

 

Why I’m Choosing to Home-School

Homeschooling

When September rolls around I plan to begin official home-school for my oldest, who will be 4 in February. Parker has been doing “school pages” for over a year now, and he frequently asks to get out his school books so he can do letters and numbers. Before age 3 he was tracing and singing all his letters and he’s been sounding out words the last couple months. There are things my three year old can’t seem to grasp (like how to get dressed) but school is something we’ve always made fun for him and he seems to be excelling so far.

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There are people who have come right out and shared their opinion that homeschooling isn’t the best option, then there are those who haven’t been as bold, but still made that “Are you crazy?!” face when I brought up homeschooling my children. The thing is, I have been thinking about homeschooling since before my babies were born. I’ve put a ton of thought into it, as well as research, and I know it’s the best choice for our family.

My personal reasons why I am choosing to home-school my children:

  1. First, and foremost, I am their mother and they are my responsibility. I want the best possible life for them, and I know that homeschooling (at least through the early ages) is what will give them the best start they could get.
  2. I want to be the one raising my children. Between my husband and I, and the family/friends/loved ones we surround our children with, we are the ones who will mold our babies into the little humans they will grow into.
  3. We can use bible stories and prayer in our lesson plans.
  4. I believe that at an early age children should be able to learn real life lessons of patience, responsibility and hard work through experiencing day-to-day activities. Incorporating things like raising animals, growing food, budgeting, and caring for siblings into a “lesson plan” will only enrich the child’s views and encourage a deeper connection to learning.
  5. Too many kids these days are growing up to have bad attitudes, no respect, no sense of self control, no common sense, poor work ethics, and have the mindset that it’s always someone else’s fault. That will not be my children. Being able to homeschool also means being able to discipline when needed and being consistent with punishment. No rebellion around here!
  6. The fresh air. We can take our learning outside which not only helps encourage their brains to wander and think, and ask questions, but there are a million health benefits to being able to learn outdoors. We are incredibly blessed, as our homeschool/play room has a covered balcony so even on days where it’s not 100% beautiful outside, we can still get the fresh air.
  7. I get to control what and when my children eat. School food sucks, end of story. Also, I believe in eating throughout the day, every couple hours, and that isn’t allowed in schools. Fueling your body and your brain is important for not just building muscle and creating healthy metabolism, but also for promoting a properly functioning total machine. The healthier your body and brain, they more you will be able to learn and grow.
  8. I get to be the one who sees the “light bulb” moments. Those times where it just clicks, and your child is so proud of their accomplishment…I want to be there for those times.
  9. Our family will get to know each other on a deeper level, and we will create bonds and build the most important relationships.
  10. My gut tells me this is what I need to do. There’s simply no other option for us.

Statistical reasons why I am choosing to home-school my children:

  1. Home-schooled students score exceptionally high on test scores. The majority of home-schooled students were ranked in the 80th percentile or higher, whereas, those in public schools averaged in the 50th
  2. Student to teach ration is obviously lower.
  3. Do you really need more stats than that?!?

Other reasons why I am choosing to home-school my children:

  1. More play time (and also, play time at such a young age, is learning time)
  2. We get to study a wide variety of topics
  3. I get to witness which topics my children find a connection to and encourage their passions to flourish.
  4. Just as I get to see where their weaknesses are, and help build on those as well.
  5. We can learn anytime, anywhere.
  6. I will test my children, but their work will be done for mastery, not for a grade.
  7. The younger children get to learn also by watching the older children.
  8. I can allow my children to sleep in as late as they need. Their growing bodies are precious and need sleep. (Now, if only they would actually sleep in once in a while…)
  9. We will experience more field trips. Tide pools. Parks. Nature walks. Library. Museums. In reality, we could make just about any outing a learning experience.
  10. In more and more public school there are some seriously deceitful things being taught. And when God isn’t allowed inside our public institutions, we tend to follow suit of the deceit. I do not want my children involved in that.

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Bible verses I’ve stumbled upon during my decision making process thus far:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character.”
  2. Proverbs 3:13-18 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.”
  3. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Teaching Our Children to Pray

Homeschooling

Our kiddos are now three, and one. Parker, the oldest, has been saying his prayers at bedtime for a year now, and has his bedtime prayer routine memorized. After we finish reading our books, he says his prayers:

“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord, my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord, my soul to take.
Amen.”

I remember praying with him while he was in the NICU, just a tiny thing, so innocent and so very loved. Boy, has our boy sure grown. Both his daddy and I have began adding to our prayers, and asking Parker to thank God for whatever he feels he should. However, when it comes to really teaching our children to pray, it took me sitting down and putting my thoughts to pen and paper…good ol’ brainstorming!

The first and most important lesson seems to be obvious.

#1 Let them see you pray.

Just as anything else we wish to teach our children…they must see their parents involved and doing so in order to follow suit. I workout around my children for the very reason, I wish to get them involved, yes, but I also want them to see Mommy doing something positive and healthy.

This also means I get to better my relationship with God, as I tend to pray in my alone time, which also means not as often as I should.

#2 Give thanks.

I always want to instill a thankful character in my children. The first thing we always do when we pray is give thanks. We tell God thank you for our new home, and a healthy family. We thank God for Parker’s trucks, and for the sunshine outside. Sometimes what we are thankful for gets pretty wacky, because lets face it…toddlers have some crazy ideas!

#3 Find God’s blessings each day. 

I suppose another way to include thanks, and involve God into our daily routine is to look for his beauty every day. Whether we are out for a walk, or going through a new learning experience, every blessing can lead to a prayer.

#4 Create a routine.

Routines work for our family. When it comes to napping and eating especially, we tend to stick to a routine. So why would praying be any different? We have already established a bedtime routine for prayers, now all we need to do is put into place a morning routine when we wake. I don’t think anything else set in stone will be beneficial to our family, mostly because I would like to also teach our children they are able to talk to God spontaneously throughout the day as well.

Growing up, Sunday dinners were always at the table, and we said a prayer. I would like to get to that point with our little family. Sundays may be the only evening we can come together and pray/eat because of work schedules, but that would be a start. Any special occasion meal I think it’s also important to include a prayer.

And last but not least…

#5 Teach why we pray.

For a toddler, there are so many unanswered questions, and all parents know all too well that most kids are going to go through the “why?” phase. Even though Parker hasn’t actually experienced this phase yet, and he may never, he has a very curious mind and asks a multitude of other questions already.

So why do I pray? Why should we pray?

My grandmother recently passed away, and Parker is at that age where he doesn’t quite understand what has happened, all he knows is Gramma Gramma isn’t at her house anymore. We have explained to him that she is with the angels in heaven, and we will see her again. We prayed for her before she passed, and after she passed. I tried my best to use prayer for Gramma as a way of teaching him to open up to God.

We pray to communicate with God.

We pray to fulfill our emotional needs during times of both highs and lows.

We pray because of love.

We pray because of hope.

We may pray because we wish to know our own hearts more fully.

We may pray to humble ourselves before God.

I know those are all reasons why I pray.

And if those answers do not suffice…

We pray because the bible and God’s word says to. We pray because Jesus did. 

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